Drought-stricken farms may be eligible for aid

A serious lack of moisture that extended over the 2012 summer season has caused producers in Marion County as well as throughout Kansas to suffer from the effects of exceptional drought conditions.

Farms and ranches experiencing these conditions may be eligible for cost-share financial assistance under USDA’s Emergency Conservation Program–Drought Measures provision.

This program is administered by the Farm Service Agency and will provide benefit payments if damages are so severe that water available for livestock or orchards and vineyards has been reduced below normal to the extent that neither can survive without additional water.

Producers may request assistance by filing an application from Oct. 15 through Nov. 15 at their local FSA county office. Damages incurred by producers must be of such magnitude that it would be too costly to rehabilitate without federal assistance.

Participants can receive cost-sharing of up to 75 percent of the cost for temporary measures and 50 percent of the cost for permanent measures for approved emergency conservation practices.

Practices approved are permanent drought measures, such as constructing and deepening wells, developing seeps and springs, installing pipe to another source of water because primary source is inadequate.

Other approved practices are temporary water hauling for livestock, such as transporting water to grazing areas, utilizing tanks and troughs.

This program has been approved without an expendable allocation. Therefore, FSA will be accepting applications for which funds are not currently available. ECP funding is stringently limited and should funds become available, expenditure priorities will be given to permanent measure practices.

Contact the FSA office at your local USDA Service Center for further information.

Bill Harmon is executive director of the Marion County FSA office.

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